End of Summer Salad

Although the calendar indicates it is the end of summer, Mother Nature in South Carolina is not paying attention. Yesterday it was 92º and today it will be the same, nevertheless, most farmers markets are closing down or will be in the next two weeks.  This end of summer celebration, because I hate the hot weather, was perfect for a dinner, finishing up a hot summer day.  Light, refreshing and colorful, if you are a vegetable fan, you will love this easy to prepare salad.  Because the vinaigrette is so prominent in this recipe, using good, fresh ingredients is important and will make a difference.  Keep in mind, the vinaigrette needs to chill for at least 30 minutes before using.

Since I prepare every recipe that I write about on this blog, I have a few pointers for those of you who want to try it:

  1. Use a very good quality olive oil. Colavita’s extra-virgin olive oil is light, crisp and is excellent in vinaigrette recipes.
  2. Do not use a flavored olive oil as it will taint or overwhelm your fresh basil.
  3. Do not use dried basil. When making any vinaigrette or pesto, you must use fresh basil.
  4. You a good red wine vinegar. Do not use a vinegar that has been in your pantry for year
  5. Make sure to buy tenderloin fillets. You do not want a steak that has fat or marbling in them.
  6. As noted below, slice your vegetables lengthwise to make them easier to grill.


End of Summer Salad Ingredients



  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3-4 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil





  • (2) 8 oz. beef tenderloin fillets
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 small yellow squash, cut in half LENGTHWISE – you can make more than one lengthwise cut, if squash is larger
  • 2 small zucchini, cut in half LENGTHWISE – again, you can make multiple slices
  • 1 small eggplant, cut in half LENGTHWISE
  • 2 plum tomatoes, cut in half LENGTHWISE – I made 4 lengthwise slices because my plum tomato was larger
  • (1) 8 oz. package romaine lettuce heart leaves

Vinaigrette Directions

Whisk together the red wine vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper, until thoroughly blended.  Gradually add extra-virgin olive oil in a slow, steady stream, while whisking constantly until smooth.  The slow steady stream gives your vinaigrette the right viscosity texture.  Stir in basil. Cover vinaigrette and chill for 30 minutes.  It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

End of Summer Salad Directions

Preheat your grill for cleaning.

While grill is preheating, prepare your steak and vegetables.

Sprinkle fillets with salt and pepper, let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Remember my article on acclimating your steaks

Peel skin from each vegetable.  Slice each vegetable lengthwise, discarding any tips or stems, for your compost pile.

See how to compost from home here: http://joannsfoodbites.com/composting-at-home/

Place all vegetables in a large bowl.

Toss squash, zucchini and eggplant with 3 Tablespoons of your basil-garlic vinaigrette.  Return vinaigrette to refrigerator.

Let’s head to the grill:

Once at 350º-400º, scrap the grill grates with your grill brush, then coat with olive oil using a paper towel, dipped in your olive oil.

You should use this method EVERY TIME you cook on your grill.

Grill steaks, covered with grill lid for 5-6 minutes on each side or to desired degree of doneness.  My recommendation is to cook the steaks to 120º as registered by my trusty ThermoWorks Super-Fast Thermapen (Red) Professional Thermocouple Cooking Thermometer click if you would like to purchase one.  Yes, it may seem slightly under cooked, but the steak will continue cooking, while resting and you are grilling the vegetables.

Once steak has reached desired doneness, remove from the grill, place on a plate and securely wrap the steak and plant in aluminum foil.  This will allow the steak to continue cooking.

Meanwhile, return to the grill.  Glide on another coating of olive oil, using your paper towel method.

Spread out squash, zucchini and eggplant on your grill, to allow even cooking.  Cook for 5-6 minutes on first side, or until tender.

Turn vegetables over to cook on the other side, now add tomatoes.  The tomatoes will not need near as long to cook.

After 3 minutes, turn tomatoes over.

Grilled vegetables for end of summer salad grilled-vegs-2






After 3-4 more minutes, all vegetables should be done.  Remove from grill and place on a platter

Coarsely chop grilled vegetables into 1/2″ squared bites.  Cut steak into thin slices.

Coarsely chop romaine lettuce into serving bowls.  Divide into portions and add vegetables to lettuce.  Top with divided slices of the steak.

Drizzle with desired amount of remaining vinaigrette.

Top with a teaspoon of Parmesan Cheese if desired.

Send me pictures if you make this recipe!  Here is my finished presentation: End of Summer Salad

Recipe found in Southern Living Magazine August 2011

















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